Did you know that July is Disability Pride Month?
In honor of this month, I’m celebrating my oldest son who was born with moderate to severe hearing loss.
My son once asked me: “How do glasses help your eyes, mom?”
“Glasses help our eyes like hearing aids help your ears,” I said. Though, that’s not exactly true. Our eyes can be corrected to 20-20 vision. Hearing aids do not do the same. They bring his hearing up about halfway. Tools like an FM system used in the classroom help bridge the gap.
My son often has to use his other strong senses to help him fill in the blanks of conversations and assess situations. He has to hear with more than just his ears which was particularly challenging this past year. I imagine it can be exhausting to have to pay such close attention all the time, especially with masks, plexiglass, and ADHD too.
I have learned a great deal over the past 8 years, but one of the best lessons I’ve learned is how beautiful he is exactly as God created him to be. I hope he knows that. I hope he realizes some day that the best way he can give glory to God is by being exactly the person God loved into being.⠀
Hearing loss is a part of my son but it’s not everything. He loved animals and all things rare and unique. He is compassionate and thoughtful and smart. He also is a kid who argues and wrestles with his brothers on the daily. And he’d probably roll his eyes at this post.
This July, I encourage you to Google stories of people with a wide range of disabilities. Get to know how they navigate a world not always built for them. Take time to see the gifts they offer and the beauty they bring to this world. Learn about hearing aids and brail and AAC devices (they help nonverbal kids speak). Learn why not all deaf people choose to be aided and what their culture means.
Learn about parents of children with disabilities as well – what their world is like – beautiful and complex and exhausting and rewarding all rolled up into one.
If you are a parent of someone with a disability or have one yourself, feel free to add to the conversation in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.